Would Your Audience Choose to Stay?

How to Edit your speech when time is short

We spend an incredible amount of time speaking with our clients about capturing attention right up front when we speak. In a hyper-speed, over-scheduled, attention-starved world, it is critical that we have the skills to capture our audience’s attention right away. Otherwise, they will never engage, they won’t be listening, and they won’t absorb anything else we say. So what’s the point? We would be better served in that case to just cancel the meeting, call or presentation and give everyone their one hour back.

But that’s not what we want to do. We want to make our point, sell our product or idea, and present our concept. Which means we need to know how to capture attention.

Next time you are practicing for a presentation, listen closely to how you are spending the first 60-90 seconds of the audience’s time. Are you doing a good job getting them engaged right away? Or are you wasting that time, regurgitating the agenda, or immediately diving into deep background without providing the big picture?

And think about this. If, after the first two minutes of your presentation, if you gave the audience the choice to stay or leave, what would they likely do? If you paused the meeting right there, and said to them “based on what you have heard so far, you can choose to stay or choose to leave,” would they stay? If there were no consequences to leaving, no social pressure to stay, would… they… stay?

That is a great litmus test for a good opening. Think about how you are spending the first 60-90 seconds of the time. Is it interesting? Do you get to the point? Do you create context and relevance? Do you tell them where the presentation is heading?

Or are you leaving them twisting in the darkness?

Would they stay or would they go? That is the question.

Have a great day.

At The Latimer Group, our individual Coaching services are highly customized and designed to help you achieve your specific goals. Typical engagements focus on developing skill sets in Leadership Communications, Public Speaking, and Executive-Level Business Presentations. To learn more, e-mail us at info@TheLatimerGroup.com

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Dean Brenner

A book about change

The Latimer Group’s CEO Dean Brenner is a noted keynote speaker and author on the subject of persuasive communication. He has written three books, including Persuaded, in which he details how communication can transform organizations into highly effective, creative, transparent environments that succeed at every level.